Money & Business

Associations Should Look to the States for Advocacy Action

By / May 20, 2015

The gridlock in Washington has been well documented in recent years. The partisan chokehold may be easing, but associations are still missing big opportunities in state-level advocacy. How does lobbying look, state by state? Here’s a snapshot.

The gridlock in Congress may be easing—the first quarter of the 114th Congress was busier than any of the last three, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center’s latest Healthy Congress Index—and associations are wise to always keep an ear toward what’s happening in Washington. But could they find more success by focusing their advocacy efforts elsewhere?

Yes, according to Amy Showalter, president of The Showalter Group, Inc. “When one legislative door closes, three more open up that we can pursue,” she said in an interview with Associations Now.

One such door: state-level advocacy, where grassroots work often pays big dividends. “The relationships really make a difference there. And talk about grassroots input—we’re seeing that 10 personal emails at the state level can make a huge amount of difference,” Showalter said.

And state lawmakers have an enthusiasm that’s often lacking in DC, she said. “It’s maybe their first or second elected office, so the work is still new, it’s still novel, it’s still fun. They are paying attention to constituents more than perhaps a jaded member of Congress.”

Where’s the action in the states? Here’s an overview, based on legislative and lobbying activity. (For the best experience on mobile, move your device into landscape mode.)

Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. More »

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